Michigan is a state that has a panel of four people, two Republicans and two Democrats, to certify election results. The Trump camp wanted the board to not certify Michigan’s presidential results even though Jos Biden easily won by a margin of 50.6-47.8% or about 150,000 votes. But one of the Republicans Aaron Van Langevelde voted to certify and the other abstained, resulting in Biden’s victory being confirmed by a 3-0 vote. I wrote about the heated debate back on November 24th..
So now the Michigan Republican party has decided to not renominate Van Langevelde for a second term when his term expires at the end of this month. He is unrepentant.
The Republican who withstood partisan pressure and voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election in Michigan says he is not surprised the GOP has not nominated him for another term on the Board of State Canvassers.
“Time will tell that those who spread misinformation and tried to overturn the election were wrong, and they should be held responsible for the chaos and confusion they have caused,” Aaron Van Langevelde said in a Monday statement.
“As tensions escalated, some political leaders — blinded by power and partisanship —urged the board to withhold certification based on unproven allegations of voter fraud, even though we had no legal authority to do so.”
The board “was essentially asked to disregard the oath of office, to abandon its long-standing ministerial role certifying elections, and to ignore a clear legal duty along with 100 years of legal precedent,” he said. “We were asked to take power we didn’t have.”
The die-hards in the Trump Republican party do not give a damn about oaths of office, laws, norms of behavior, or even basic decency. They just want to win at any cost. They will try to purge from their ranks any Republican who is deemed to not be willing to go to the mattresses for Trump. It will be interesting to see what happens to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger and election official Gabriel Sterling who refused to ‘find’ 11,800 Trump votes from somewhere to overturn Biden’s win in that state, and to the governor Brian Kemp, once one of Trump’s favorites, who kept a very, very, low profile during that dust up. Although he did not come out with support for his secretary of state, the fact that he was not loudly supporting Trump will be seen as a betrayal. Kemp and Raffensperger are up for re-election in 2022 and what happens to them will be a good bellwether of where the Republican party is headed.
Meanwhile the Arizona Republican party has censured those Republicans whom they feel have been disloyal to Trump, people such as John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain, former senator Jeff Flake, and governor Doug Ducey who certified Biden’s win in that state.
Meanwhile Fox News fired Chris Stirewalt, the person in charge of their election desk on election night because Fox News was the first to call Arizona for Biden, infuriating Trump who called the network and demanded of Rupert Murdoch that the call be retracted. They did not do so then, standing by their election desk people, but later fired Stirewalt. He has written an op-ed giving his story.
I was proud of our being first to project that Joe Biden would win Arizona, and very happy to defend that call in the face of a public backlash egged on by former President Trump. Being right and beating the competition is no act of heroism; it’s just meeting the job description of the work I love.
Having worked in cable news for more than a decade after a wonderfully misspent youth in newspapers, I can tell you the result: a nation of news consumers both overfed and malnourished. Americans gorge themselves daily on empty informational calories, indulging their sugar fixes of self-affirming half-truths and even outright lies.
Whatever the platform, the competitive advantage belongs to those who can best habituate consumers, which in the stunted, data-obsessed thinking of our time, means avoiding at almost any cost impinging on the reality so painstakingly built around them. As outlets have increasingly prioritized habituation over information, consumers have unsurprisingly become ever more sensitive to any interruption of their daily diet.
The rebellion on the populist right against the results of the 2020 election was partly a cynical, knowing effort by political operators and their hype men in the media to steal an election or at least get rich trying. But it was also the tragic consequence of the informational malnourishment so badly afflicting the nation.
When I defended the call for Biden in the Arizona election, I became a target of murderous rage from consumers who were furious at not having their views confirmed.
Having been cosseted by self-validating coverage for so long, many Americans now consider any news that might suggest that they are in error or that their side has been defeated as an attack on them personally. The lie that Trump won the 2020 election wasn’t nearly as much aimed at the opposing party as it was at the news outlets that stated the obvious, incontrovertible fact.
I remain confident that the current depredations of the digital revolution will pass, just as those of the telegraph, radio and broadcast television did. Americans grew into those media and providers learned to meet the demands of a more sophisticated marketplace. That’s the work that I’ve always aimed to do and hope to be part of for many years to come.
What tugs at my mind after seeing a mob of enthusiastic ignoramuses sack the Capitol, though, is whether that sophistication will come quickly enough when outlets have the means to cater to every unhealthy craving of their consumers.
Let’s hope he is right.